If you’re looking for a top hybrid smartwatch – a watch that puts fitness tracking into what looks like a traditional timepiece – there’s a great selection to choose from right now.
A hybrid smartwatch blurs traditional watch designs with contemporary fitness tracking and notification tech. You won’t see full touchscreen displays like you get on Google’s Wear watches, Fitbit’s smartwatches or the Apple Watch Series 5, and you certainly won’t have to deal with just a couple of days of battery life, that’s for sure.
The smarts in hybrids are added in more discreet and elegant ways, and they have long-lasting battery life too.
Whether you’re obsessed with style or want something that’s good at tracking your steps, here’s our pick of the best smart analogue watches to get around your wrist.
Best hybrid smartwatches
Amazon: Garmin Vivomove HR
Garmin carefully treads the line between fitness tracker and stylish timepiece, and the results are mostly good. The hidden screen is a useful and unique addition, even if it’s not great for handling notifications and suffers in sunlight. Serious athletes will still want to look to the Forerunner and Fenix lines, but, as far as hybrids go, Garmin raised the bar with the Vivomove HR. Watch out though, as the Vivomove 3 is incoming, so you may want to pick up a newer model.
Amazon: Skagen Connected
Skagen has made another beautiful hybrid in the Holst, with some nice smart features peppered in too. Activity tracking and notifications are very limited, and step counting is a little inconsistent, but some of the other connected functions are more useful. This is for people who want a nice-looking watch first, and a smartwatch second.
Amazon: Withings Steel HR Sport
The Withings Steel HR Sport builds on all the things we loved about its predecessors. You’ve still got the handsome look, the long battery life and the great Health Mate app. But connected GPS and VO2 Max round out the Sport to satisfy those looking for an all-day tracker with running chops – with a strong optical HR sensor to boot. Smart features are meagre next to other smartwatches, but that’s the price of having an analogue display.
As mentioned above, the Garmin Vivomove HR is our reigning pick for best hybrid smartwatch – and now, two years after its release, Garmin has given it a meaningful update and added more versions.
We got our hands on the new Vivomove 3, 3S, Style and Luxe models at IFA this year, and were really impressed by what we saw. The prices vary a lot, bringing better build quality and a double screen in the case of the Vivomove Luxe – the watches start at $250 and run up to $500 for the most luxury version.
We’ll be detailing our full thoughts on the new Vivomoves when we’ve had enough time to properly put them through their paces. But it’s worth knowing that they’re available now, and stand a very good chance of repeating Garmin’s trick at the top of the hybrid watch game.
Withings made its name in hybrids, and its latest hybrids have some unique features. There’s the Move, which is a standard fitness hybrid that comes with extensive customisation options – and then there’s the Move ECG.
The Move ECG is the first hybrid with a built-in electrocardiogram. All you have to do is put two fingers on the bezel and you can take an ECG reading. Like the Move, it has water resistance up to 50 meters, automatic workout tracking for running, cycling and swimming, elevation tracking, and connected GPS. You’ll also get 18 months of battery life.
The regular Move is out now, and we found it a bit too basic, but we’re testing the Move ECG at the moment, which is waiting for FDA approval before it can be released in the US, though it’s available in the EU now. It costs $129.95.
This isn’t as firm as we’d like to be, but it’s looking a lot like Fossil is also planning a refresh of its hybrid watch collection.
A brief listing of a watch called the Fossil Collider didn’t go unnoticed, and appears to suggest that the hybrid, which will apparently pack a heart rate monitor, is on its way. We’ll wait for firmer details before we can give a recommendation on the quality of Fossil’s latest, but it’s one you should probably have on your radar if you’re looking to pick up a new hybrid.
The full list: Top hybrid smartwatches to check out
That sums up some great deals and incoming new watches. If you want some more detail on the hybrid watches we’ve selected as the best around, and a bigger breakdown of their key features, read on.
1. Garmin Vivomove HR
Buy now: Amazon | From $193.50
The Vivomove HR came out way back in 2017, but it still hasn’t budged from our top spot. With the perfect marriage of design and smarts, this is in our opinion the best hybrid smartwatch to buy.
Successor to the Garmin Vivomove, the award-winning Vivomove HR offers a watch designed for both men and women, adding a discreet display that only appears when you tap on the watch face. It’s also waterproof up to 50 metres (like its predecessor), so you can take it for a dip too. Garmin has now also made it available in new luxury models to offer more variety.
On that nicely disguised display, you’ll be able to see activity tracking data, check in on heart rate readings, view notifications and even check in on your stress levels. It’s essentially the Garmin Vivosport fitness tracker in a much sleeker and stylish body, minus the built-in GPS.
Battery life is two weeks in watch mode and five days when you’re taking full advantage of the smartwatch features. Until we fully test the Vivomove, this is still the one for us.
Wareable verdict: Garmin Vivomove HR
2. Skagen Holst
Buy now: Amazon | $99
The best design is timeless. Skagen has sported the best designed hybrids for years now with its Connected collection. There are a couple versions, from the Jorn for men and Hald for women, to the subdial rocking Hagen to the Mini Hald.
Our favourite is the Skagen Holst, which brings some minor adjustments to the design. For one, the buttons on the side are a little more pronounced. It also features a progress indicator on the watch face, making it better as a fitness companion.
The Holst comes in two colorways, there’s a blue face with a brown leather band and a mesh band with a greyish face. Like other Skagen Connected watches, you’re getting 3 ATM water resistance and 22mm straps. There’s activity and sleep tracking, but it’s pretty basic.
You can pair any of these Connected watches with 22mm straps, and they all sport the same titanium cases and minimalistic design. It’ll barely feel like you’re wearing a smartwatch, and you’ll get the benefit of sporting a wonderful watch on your wrist.
Wareable verdict: Skagen Connected review
3. Withings Steel HR Sport
Buy now: Amazon | $199.95
In 2018 Nokia sold its digital health business back to the co-founder of Withings. The Steel HR Sport was the first new device to come out under the new order, a hybrid smartwatch not dissimilar to the Nokia Steel HR.
But this time, Withings has added connected GPS and VO2 Max tracking on top of the features users got in the Steel HR, making for a more sporty experience – hence the name.
But while this is unmistakably a Withings watch, there are some differences. For one, the Steel HR Sport only comes in one 40mm size with a matte black metal case, the only option being a white or black watch face and your choice of band.
Once again, there’s a small digital screen on the face to view data including activity tracking and smartphone notifications. There’s also a heart rate monitor on board to continuously monitor your heart rate through the day, as well as during your workouts.
You can expect 25 days of battery life with normal use, and another 20 in power reserve mode.
Wareable verdict: Withings Steel HR Sport review
4. Fossil Q Neely
Buy now: Amazon | From $155
There’s a whole bunch of Fossil hybrids you can pick from, with more likely to be coming, as we said above, but we’ve found that the experience is better when paired with iPhones, as opposed to Android smartphones.
The Neely is one from the collection that we really enjoyed using alongside Apple’s smartphone – and it’s a looker, too. The 36mm watch is classy, light and fairly slim at 12mm thick.
Activity tracking is kept to a minimum – counting steps and nothing more. You can’t read notifications on it, but a little blue LED and vibrating buzz will let you know someone is trying to get in touch for third party apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp.
The three physical buttons on the side of the watch also offer additional smarts, such as letting you control music playback or take a smartphone selfie, as well as more standard functions, like showing the date, showing a second time zone, starting the stopwatch or ringing your phone.
It’s big on style and the smarts are discreet, so if you like that combo, then this could be the hybrid for you.
Wareable verdict: Fossil Q Neely review
5. Misfit Command
Buy now: Amazon | $119.99
Misfit’s first hybrid smartwatch, the Misfit Phase, was a strong debut, delivering a handful of smarts without a single sub-eye. It does make interpreting some notifications a little tricky, mind, but there’s no denying the Phase is a real looker.
Along with a revamped design the Command will track your steps and sleep using Misfit’s activity tech, while the hands will move to signal a new notification, as well as the shifting color wheel that can be seen through a small window at the six o’clock mark.
You can also unlock swim tracking to count your laps in the pool through an additional in-app purchase. All of the smarts are hidden under the surface, giving the Command the feel of a classic, understated watch.
We’d like it to do a bit more in the smarts department, but if you want something that’s simple, tracks your activity, and looks good, this is a strong choice.
Wareable verdict: Misfit Command review
6. Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture
Buy now: frederiqueconstant.com | $3,195
If you’ve got money to burn and want a hybrid that oozes luxury, this Hybrid Manufacture is the one you need in your life.
The Swiss watchmakers latest hybrid is the first to fuse tech with a mechanical manufacture-made movement and comes in four 42mm styles including a rose gold model that can push the price up to $3,795.
On the smart features front, it offers step tracking, sleep tracking and a second time zone. The Manufacture goes a little further with its coaching from the companion smartphone app giving you health tips based on your stats, advising you, perhaps, that too much activity in the evening is having a negative impact on your sleep.
It might not be jam packed with connected features, but with all the hallmarks of the watchmaker’s fine craftsmanship on show, it’s going to appeal to lovers of classic watch design who aren’t ready to go full smartwatch just yet.
Wareable verdict: Frederique Constant Hybrid Manufacture review
Buy now: Amazon | From $325–$795
If you’ve got a bit more money to play around with, Kronaby’s collection of hybrid smartwatches is well worth checking out.
There are models for men and women, with high grade materials adding that touch of luxury. You can swap out the wristbands, too. In terms of smarts, it keeps it basic on the fitness front with just step tracking, but you do get vibrating buzzes that vary in strength to indicate different notifications and the ability to assign physical watch buttons to control features like music playback and remotely take smartphone pictures.
There’s also a nice personal safety feature that lets you send out a details of your current location to an assigned contact with the press of a button. New IFTTT support means it can take control of smart home kit too. Kronaby has also introduced contactless payment straps powered by bPay so you can make a quick purchase if you don’t have an cash handy.
It packs decent smartwatch features into a sleek, stylish body and while there was some uncertainty about the hybrid watchmaker’s future, it looks like one of our current hybrid watch faves will be around for a while yet.
Wareable verdict: Kronaby review
8. Bellabeat Time
Buy now: Amazon | $178.67
A lot of hybrids care about fitness, tracking your activity throughout the day – some of them even add heart rate to the mix. The Bellabeat Time is a little different, caring more about wellness.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s got a really good step tracking, but where it shines is in the companion app, where you can get meditation exercises, stress tracking and period tracking. It uses all of these to help you keep track of your own wellbeing.
Those meditation exercises, by the way, are held to a high standard. We found they’re as good as some dedicated meditation apps. They’re divided into your mood, so they can help if you’re hungry or hurting from menstrual cramps.
It can also link up with Bellabeat’s other products, like its connected water bottle, to track your hydration levels. All of this is topped by some good looks. The Time is one of the few options on this list that are primarily aimed at women, which allows it to concentrate on features other smartwatches might not have even though about. In that way, it’s one of the most refreshing hybrids available.
Wareable verdict: Bellabeat Time